(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

To a certain extent, this novel follows the formula of the classic romance: It is an adventure story in which good triumphs over evil. It features several reincarnations, including those of Arthur, Merlin, and Hal. Another characteristic of a romance in the classic tradition is the element of the magical. This novel has many such elements, including the cup, immortality, the sword Excalibur, wizards, time travel, and ghosts. A romantic hero usually is a member of the nobility; in this case Arthur is a boy destined to be king again.

The story also relies heavily on coincidence for key events. Arthur stumbles upon the cup, he resembles the kidnapped red-headed boy about whom Hal has nightmares, and Saladin’s helpers happen to see a picture of him in the newspaper with the magical cup on a shelf behind him.

The Forever King does have unique and original aspects. Authors Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy, a husband-and-wife team, added the twist of double identities. The ten-year-old Arthur is an American child as well as the reincarnation of King Arthur, Hal is a former FBI agent and also Sir Galahad, and Merlin is both Mr. Taliesin and Mr. Goldberg.

The story operates in several time periods, the two major ones being the early 1990s and the medieval time of King Arthur. Saladin’s story takes the reader through several thousand years of history, from pre-Egyptian times to the present. Time travel adds a new twist to the...

(The entire section is 409 words.)